This story has 8 years of history and the final victory has been a long time coming. It started when a man was murdered in a Queensland church yard, the murderers getting the sentence reduced to manslaughter after using the "gay panic" defence. An anachronistic law that said if a man made sexual advances on another man and the other man panicked, then that could be used as an excuse for murder.
The Catholic priest running the church was appalled that this could happen. The murdered man's mother reckoned he wasn't even gay. Father Paul Kelly started a petition to remove this law gaining nearly 300,000 signatures, that being the catalyst for movement within the Queensland parliament to expunge the law.
It's taken years but it's finally happened.
It’s been a rollercoaster. When an innocent man named Wayne was killed in my parish churchyard 8 years ago, I was revolted by the injustice. The two men who killed him claimed Wayne made “sexual advances” on them, and cited the gay panic defence in court to justify his murder.
I then met with Wayne’s mother Joyce, who is still alive today. She was determined to not die until this revolting defence for murder was abolished. Today she’s finally received some justice for her son’s death.
Thank you for fight for this campaign with me. For the thousands of emails, calls, news reports, protests and online actions taken - thank you. One of Australia's worst laws has been scrapped because of your signatures. This is as much your win for justice as it is mine, or indeed Joyce’s.
From today, saying a gay person made a pass at you will no longer be an acceptable, legal excuse for murder. And I couldn’t be prouder to have led this Change.org petition in honour of Wayne Ruks and his family.
Father Paul Kelly Catholic Priest Petition Update